Indy on the Rebound: Learnings from the 2021 NCAA Tournament

The Sweets & Snacks Expo isn’t the only major event to visit Indianapolis this year; thousands of basketball players, support staff and sports fans will visit Indianapolis during March 2021 for the annual NCAA tournament.

The tournament, which brings 68 teams from across the country together for 19 days of play, will serve as a test run for the city’s COVID-19 restrictions and a proof point for the Sweets & Snacks Expo’s safety precautions. Because the tournament is largely centered around the Indiana Convention Center and its surrounding hotels, many of the precautions being taken for the March Madness attendees and players will be implemented for Sweets & Snacks Expo attendees a few months later.

“We’re still going to have restrictions at restaurants and bars, social distancing, mask mandates,” Leonard Hoops, president and chief executive of Visit Indy, told the Washington Post about the tournament. “This is not the kind of event where people are going to be running around doing whatever they want to do.”

The Sweets & Snacks Expo has worked closely with Visit Indy and the Indiana Convention Center to create the safest atmosphere possible for the confectionery and snack industries to conduct business. This year’s Sweets & Snacks Expo will implement extensive COVID-19 safety protocols, including mandatory face coverings, social distancing, temperature checks and socially distanced badge pickup and education sessions. Additionally, show management will require exhibitors to distribute only individually wrapped samples and sanitize their booths regularly, and all large indoor gatherings and social events outside of the show are discouraged.

Many of the precautions taken by the Indiana Convention Center to ensure a safe and successful NCAA tournament will also be taken to ensure the safety of the Sweets & Snacks Expo’s attendees. The convention center has invested more than $7 million in health and safety upgrades since March 2020, including hospital-grade air filtration, Clorox® Total 360® sanitation systems, touchless doors, hand sanitizer stations, temperature check and health screening stations and more.

“Much of downtown has been built over the course of 50 years to host major events,” Hoops stated. “It just so happens the pandemic has shown that it’s a pretty good layout for something like this.”

With a dozen hotels connected directly to the Indiana Convention Center and countless restaurants and attractions within walking distance, exploring the city of Indianapolis will be easy to do without renting a car or using public transportation. Additionally, thanks to an initiative by Visit Indy, local restaurants and attractions have committed to the Hoosier Hospitality Promise, which certifies each venue is taking all necessary steps to protect employees, customers and visitors to the city.

Learn more about the precautions being taken to ensure a safe and successful Sweets & Snacks Expo.

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